Striking Workers Say Central Park Boathouse’s $8 Bottled Water From The Tap

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Striking union workers have apparently let out the Central Park Boathouse‘s little secret — the overpriced bottled water they sell is really just tap water.

Employees say the iconic restaurant, operated by Dean Poll, has been selling filtered municipal water for $8 and pulling a fast one on customers for years.

“It’s fraud, isn’t it? If you’re charging $8 and whatever the bottle says on the outside of it,” one New Yorker told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa Gets Reaction From New Yorkers

Paco and Julia, a couple visiting from Germany, aren’t really big fans of the water either.

“I don’t like that water, it smells like swimming pool water,” Paco said.

“In Germany, we have like clear water and really you can drink it and it don’t smell anything,” Julia quipped.

Many other customers felt the price was simply too high and the free glass on the table was just fine. It also irked the nerves of others, who weren’t really amused by the alleged tactic.

“That’s ridiculous, I mean in San Francisco, I think it’s illegal to actually refuse to give people free tap water. So if that’s not the case here in New York, which I don’t think it is, it should be,” said one woman.

“I would never buy bottled water anyway, they should definitely be fined if nothing more,” another woman remarked.

1010 WINS has reached out to the restaurant, but they have yet to comment on the allegations.

What do you think about the allegations of bottled water fraud? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

More from Juliet Papa
  • CLM

    Plain and simple- Unions bring a voice to those who have been silenced.

  • Silvia

    I don’t know about the water. But the strikers behavoiur leads me to believe the strikers will do anything to get what they want. Their tactics of bullying, harrasing patrons who choose to eat at this establishment shouldn’t be tolerated. My daughter and husband went there for their anniversary yesterday and they shouted to them to not go in there. They said the patrons harrassed and treated them bad. Kind of not believable because if that were so, why would you still want to work there? They chose to eat there anyway and when they came out they were called names and harrassedagain. Which leads me to believe once again, unions are more like mafia/gangsters who take your money to protect lying cheating lazy employees. Good hardworking people do not need to pay someone like them to protect them. We have laws people. Besides if what these strikers says were true about the water, wouldn’t you be an accomplice when you knew this and still served it before you went on strike? There are ways of protesting /striking. I hope and pray the strikers do not get their way and they not be allowed to go back to work there. I defiinitely do not support them because of their tactics of bullying/terrorizing to get their way. I would not want to eat there with employees like that serving me.

    • Alan

      Actually, we are getting our way, because Dean is a lying, cheating thief. He’s been indicted for federal charges of stealing money from employes and sexual harassment and fraud. If you, or your daughter and her husband, can’t take 3 minutes to learn about the truth of what is going on at the restaurant and choose to cross the picket line anyway, of course they are going to yell at you! This is NYC, there are plenty of other options that are decent and respectable. What exactly is your backing for saying the employees are “lying, cheating and lazy”? Where’s your proof? OH THATS RIGHT YOU HAVE NONE! Dean is being indicted, not the employees. Wake up.

      • Silvia

        I would taken the time to find out about the truth, however the strikers actions made me not want to hear them and is what made me come on here to comment. There are decent and civil ways to strike/protest. Just like you say we have decent and respectable options. Strikers do too. They are harrassers and their actions doesn’t make them look like the victims they claim to be. I am assuming you are one of them since you are responding in this manner. Like I said their are laws and I am glad they are working if this guy is being indicted. I don’t respect those strikers because of the way they went about it and they are no better than this guy dean if it is true what you say. Did you see the comments about how they ruined someone’s wedding. I have seen strikers at other places that don’t act this way. They hold out there posters and act civilly. Not shouting obscene language and lying that the place is closed. Again, I will not ever be back if they hire any of them back. Why should we be considerate of them when they are not considerate of anyone themselves? Wake up yourself, this is not the way to strike. Have some class.

  • Concern

    Unions, Charity Search Engines cents for Central Falls, RI.

  • stockbroker

    I think it’s outrageous that employees are trying to win their strike by telling the public the truth about the perfectly legal deception their employer is perpetrating. Those strikers should be condemned because they are pursuing their own self-interest. Only the employer, and I, should be allowed to do that.

  • xdream

    Actually, New York City water is an engineering marvel. It is piped in through deep underground bores from over a hundred miles away. It is probably as good as most bottled water. Of course I wouldn’t want to eat at a place where the workers are so corrupt that they would participate in such a deception. But that is what you get with a union shop.

    • Not you

      Yeah I’m sure it was the wait staff that came up with the scam.
      No wait, I’m sure you are an idiot.

    • MSTwond

      Ummmm, the Boathouse isn’t a union shop. Have you been following the strike at all, whatsoever? Clearly not.
      And the workers aren’t corrupt, the management is!

  • UnionParisites

    The union parisites…Sucking the life out of businesses and industries. Uneducated, fat, lazy union workers…The cancer of free enterprise…

    • CLM

      Wow you sound like an ignorant fool!

  • Chris Negretti

    LOL (0/10) Troll attempt. You really need to work on your presentation…. come on you can’t just throw out a hitler/Germany reference like that without some sorta reason… very poor troll attempt… very poor.

  • KPMc

    I guess they didn’t have a problem with it as long as they were getting paid.

    It’s funny how people can find their morality once the checks stop coming in.

    The owners may have started it but it wouldn’t be possible if regular people didn’t go along with it willingly.

    “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
    Edmund Burke

    • kevin f

      I was on a fishiing boat earlier this summer. I watched a mate take empty water bottles from the trash and refill them with water from a cooler. the mate thought i was sleeping

      • Gilligan

        Arrrrrr! Busted.

    • tbo0128

      Well, this is the purpose of a Union – Unity. When employees band together and speak up as a group, they cannot be discarded so easily. Any worker who refused to participate in this deceptive practice would have been singularly terminated.

      “We must hang together, gentlemen…else, we shall most assuredly hang
      Benjamin Franklin

      • KPMc

        But they already HAD a union. If they had told the union first, then refused to participate in such an act they would have been protected. But they went along with it willingly until their contract came up.


      • loudmouth

        jesus christ finally someone with some sense!
        people don’t seem to realize the purpose of a union.
        If the operator of this establishment was obeying the law, treating his employees decently, not stealing from them, threatening them or abusing them, do you think they would need a union?!!?!?!?
        its simple cause and affect

  • Bob

    The owners weren’t filling bottles…..the employees were. So if it’s true, who are the real criminals?

    • Jason

      Who says they are not drinking purified bottled water? The article says, “Employees say the iconic restaurant, operated by Dean Poll, has been selling filtered municipal water for $8…” It does not say the employees were filling the bottles. Go to the supermarket and you will find two types of bottled water: spring water, and bottled water. Spring water is from a natural spring. Bottled water, however, is essentially just purified/filtered municipal water. If you look on the bottle of any bottled water, it is required to say where it comes from. It will clearly state if it is municipal tap water. If they told the customers that it is bottled water and they were giving their own tap water, then yes, that would be fraud. If they told the customers that it is spring water, and it was just bottled water, then that is fraud too. But if they said bottled water, and they gave bottled water, then that is not fraud, that is the truth.

      • Ian MacFarlane

        The so called “spring water” that you buy at stores is nothing more than filtered tap water in most cases. The American public has been easily swindled by the corporations that sell this stuff. Tap water is, unsurprisingly, already filtered and tested.

        I’m sure that the Rethuglican posters will still blame the unions or the workers, regardless of the facts.

    • doc in NJ

      right on! “I didn’t do it – they made me do it”
      You could have quit.

      As an aside, I’ll never eat there again.

    • tbo0128

      The restaurant operator, Mr. Dean Poll, purchased the filtration system. He purchased the reusable bottles. He instructed the barbacks and busboys to fill the bottles using the filtration system. He ordered the wait staff to offer patrons “tap or bottled water”. He runs the restaurant. His name is on the lease. I think it’s safe to say he’s culpable.

  • goblin

    Sounds like the Union and it’s members are a bit disgruntled. Hire non-union employees and be done.

  • Catholic and Proud of it

    San Francisco legislates everything though. If you say God Bless you when someone sneezes they can try and nail you for harassment. Insane

    • Educated By Science not Myth


      Most Christains are blatant liars….as evidenced here.

    • KPMc

      What a lie. Do people actually believe you just cause you claim to be religious?

    • tbo0128

      Please don’t disparage Catholics this way.



    • Nyc

      Well said

  • flea

    anybody who pays for bottled water is a sucker anyway.

  • JustSaying

    I think it’s great! Snooty New Yorkers parting with their money for 8.00 bottled tap water!

    • Scott

      Agreed. But you would be shocked how all of us are ripped off with water.I was waiting for a plane once at JFK about 4 years ago. I saw the Poland Spring truck, from a small building by the tarmac, filling up the big jugs of water from a hose (garden hose) and capping them off, ready for delivery. Spring water my foot, maybe bottled in the spring but that’s about all spring has to do with most of these waters. Totally big ripoff at $8.00 or otherwise.

  • snowdog

    What the Boathouse may consider harmless by tricking customer into thinking they are drinking purified bottled water can cause some serious intestinal problems for international visitors and tourists. How many of us have heard and been told to be careful of drinking the water when visiting a foreign country. What they are doing is absolutely dangerous! What’s next? The wine is really grape juice?



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